In this real estate economy you do not have to agree as much as you did say three to four years ago. The main things to target are the utilities such as electricity, cable, and heat (depending on where you live). In New York, the biggest thing to target is the one-month free. There is a myth going around that apartments are getting more expensive because people are losing their homes and getting into apartments. This is simply not the case. Landlords are scrambling right now to fill their apartments and developers are doing anything to rent out their subdivisions that are loaded with empty homes.
You do not need a real estate agent or realtor. Why pay someone to make documents for you when you can find the fill-in-the-blank documents yourself? Did you know that in most states it only takes 2-3 weeks for an individual to get their real estate license? So, why are you paying someone close to one month’s rent to tell you things that you already know? The only reason you would hire an agent is if you could not find an apartment yourself or you only have a limited time to see apartments. For Example, in New York City, there are mainly 5 management companies that have all the apartments and all you have to do is find the management office and look at the apartments yourself, although, this can be a scary thing for someone who is intimidated by the big apple.
We all know that money is worth more today than it is tomorrow. Do not pay the last month’s rent upfront. Landlord’s will claim that they want this for financial security reasons but it is just more money out of your account and into theirs for a year for no reason other than trying to weasel it from you for some ridiculous clause in your lease agreement.
Parking fees are something you can tell the Landlord to take out of the lease. This is America people if the founding fathers were around today they would have made parking a right for crying out loud. The typical charge is $25/month, doesn’t sound like much but if I were to give you a check for $300 at the end of the year you would be singing my praises. Landlords are digging for blood people most of them bought during the boom so do not be caught trying to pay for their mistakes.